TOPEKA - Every minute of every day, emergency responders across the country work to help save lives at the scene of traffic incidents. But every year hundreds of emergency responders representing fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, towing and transportation agencies are struck and either injured or killed while responding.
To raise awareness of the dangers these emergency responders are exposed to and to remind drivers of their obligation to use caution when approaching a traffic incident, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has declared Nov. 13 – 19 as Traffic Incident Response Week.
In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a 7.2 percent increase in roadway fatalities over 2014. In 2016, another 6 percent jump was reported. Emergency responders work at each one of these scenes and unfortunately, are sometimes victims of secondary crashes caused by inattentive drivers.
The Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Highway Patrol and partner agencies across Kansas remind drivers to move over for any emergency or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights.
The Kansas Move Over law requires drivers on four-lane roads or highways to move over when passing emergency vehicles. On two-lane roads, drivers should slow down and proceed with caution.
To help emergency responders in Kansas, a FHWA Traffic Incident Management multi-disciplinary training course is presented to promote a shared understanding of the requirements for quick incident clearance and best-practice safeguards for responders and motorists. More than 3,000 emergency responders in Kansas have received the training.
Motorists are encouraged to always slow down, move over and give emergency responders room to work when approaching a traffic incident.